Eye Opener
GenreMorning news program
Created byLee Abrams
Presented byLaila Muhammad
Oliver Tull
Kevin Roth
Neeha Curtis
Hilary Kennedy
Allyn Hoang
Courtenay DeHoff
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
Executive producersRaymond J. Brune (2011–2012)
Justin Allen (2012–2016)
Chris Myers (2016-2017)[1]
Production locationsChicago, Illinois (2011–2012)
Dallas, Texas (2012–2017)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time180 minutes
(weekday edition)
60 minutes
(weekend editions)
Production companyTribune Broadcasting
Original networkSyndication
Original releaseMay 9, 2011 (2011-05-09) –
June 21, 2017 (2017-06-21)

Eye Opener (sometimes EyeOpener or Eye Opener TV) is an American syndicated morning news program produced by Nexstar Media Group that premiered on May 9, 2011 and ended on June 21, 2017.[2] The program utilized a local/national hybrid format billed as a "provocative and unpredictable" combination of general and political news, health, entertainment, technology and opinion segments, mixed with humor and variety elements;[3] stations carrying the program are given the option to provide news, weather and traffic inserts focusing on their local market each half-hour. At the show's conclusion, it was hosted by Laila Muhammad, Oliver Tull, Neeha Curtis, Hilary Kennedy, Allyn Hoang, Courtenay DeHoff and Kevin Roth, who was also the show's meteorologist.


The idea for the program was conceived by Tribune Company chief innovation officer Lee Abrams (who resigned in October 2010). In the spring of 2011, Tribune Broadcasting developed a concept for a morning news program intended for stations owned by the company that did not maintain existing news departments. The program, which was given the title Eye Opener, would incorporate a local/national format (with the intent to syndicate the program to other markets) similar to that of morning news programs on the major broadcast television networks, with three-minute-long national segments conducted in a more free-form style.[4] Steve Charlier, senior vice president of news at Tribune Broadcasting, described the program as a platform in which "comedy meets national news," designed to distinguish itself and stations carrying the program by offering a morning show that stands out from its traditionally formatted competitors.[5]

The program debuted as a test run on May 9, 2011 on Tribune-owned CW affiliate KIAH in Houston, Texas – which maintained a news department, but only carried twice-daily evening newscasts – replacing syndicated programs and infomercials in the two-hour timeslot (from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.); the program's national segments – originally hosted by Kirby O'Connell, Sean Dowling and Adam Lee Campbell – were initially produced in studio facilities at the Tribune Tower in Chicago, which also serves as the corporate headquarters for the Tribune Company.[6][7] The program was originally hosted by Kirby O’Connell, Sean Dowling (who served as news anchor) and Adam Lee Campbell (who handled consumer, technology and pop culture-related reports),[4] with the hosts appearing in more casual attire.[8] In addition to news, health and parenting advice segments, the program initially also featured more irreverent and humorous features including a how-to segment conducted by a "hunky handyman" character named "Wrench," a commentary segment by Roger Lodge and a social media segment by "Monsignor Jebediah O'Flaherty," a character used as part of a segment lampooning celebrity tweets.[9]

On October 31, 2011, production of the program's national segments was relocated to the studios of Tribune's Dallas CW affiliate, KDAF; the program largely overhauled its hosting staff with the relocation, with co-hosts Ellen Fox and Douglas Caballero, and sole holdover Dowling.[10][11] The program concurrently began airing on KDAF and was also syndicated to fellow Tribune station, MyNetworkTV affiliate WPHL-TV in Philadelphia, later expanding to two of their sister stations – CW affiliates KRCW-TV in Portland and WSFL-TV in Miami (all three of which, unlike KDAF and KIAH, did not produce their own news programming) on January 2, 2012.[12] These stations were chosen by Tribune for the initial national rollout of Eye Opener as they, as Charlier noted, "need to be growth markets" that also have a population skewing toward the program's 18-49 target audience, with plans to eventually syndicate the program to stations not owned by Tribune Broadcasting. By July 2012, in the Dallas, Philadelphia and Houston markets, Eye Opener saw an increase in viewers in the 25-54 demographic year-to-year in the program's scheduled time periods, whereas viewership in that demographic declined in Miami and Portland.[5]

In September 2012, Eye Opener began airing on MyNetworkTV affiliates KXNW in Fort Smith, Arkansas (which Tribune earlier acquired in November 2011) and WWMB in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Eye Opener expanded to weekends on September 20, 2014, with the premiere of an hour-long edition of Saturday and Sunday mornings on KDAF and KIAH.

Replacement by Morning Dose

On June 15, 2017, Tribune Broadcasting announced the launch of Morning Dose, a two-hour social media-focused morning show produced in partnership with Chicago-based digital content branding agency Dose, which will replace Eye Opener on the five Tribune stations carrying the latter program (KDAF, KIAH, WDCW, KRCW and WPHL), along with the group's Miami CW affiliate, WSFL-TV, on June 29. Hosted by Melissa Rycroft and Gary Striewski, with news segments anchored by Laila Muhammad (along with Hillary Kennedy, the only announced holdovers from Eye Opener), the program featured a mix of news stories selected by Dose through its social storytelling and scientific trend methodology to "[showcase] the content and advancing the stories that will drive the day’s social conversation.”[13][14][15][16] On September 6, 2018, Tribune announced that Morning Dose would be cancelled effective October 19.[17]


In August 2016, the Eye Opener website listed five stations, all of which are owned by Nexstar Media Group, that aired the program each weekday:[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Chris Myers To Executive Produce 'Eye Opener,'" from TVNewsCheck, 8/5/2016
  2. ^ "Shut Eye at Tribune". FTVLive. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  3. ^ Mike McGuff (May 2, 2011). "KIAH 39 to start morning news with Eye Opener; Mia Gradney returns". MikeMcGuff.com. McGuff Media, LLC.
  4. ^ a b Andrew Gauthier (May 3, 2011). "Following 'NewsFix' Debut, KIAH Set to Launch Prefab Morning Show". TVSpy. Mediabistro.com. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Diana Marszalek (July 17, 2012). "Tribune Stations Mix It Up in The Morning". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  6. ^ "Two familiar names are back in the news game". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. May 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "Channel 39 adds morning news show". Houston Business Journal. American City Business Journals. May 4, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Ed Bark (November 1, 2011). "Live from CW33 studios, Eye Opener gets its early morning game on". Uncle Barky's Bytes. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  9. ^ Phil Rosenthal (May 3, 2011). "Tribune TV station in Houston gets early morning 'Eye Opener'". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  10. ^ Jihad Hassan Muhammad; Elena Washington (August 1, 2012). "CW33's Eye Opener TV: Keeping it Real". Dallas Weekly. African-American News & Information Consortium. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  11. ^ Ed Bark (August 31, 2011). "CW33 hires new meteorologist, ramps up for early morning show on two levels". Uncle Barky's Bytes.
  12. ^ "WSFL Airing a Morning Show". SFLTV. January 24, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  13. ^ "Tribune Broadcasting Partners with Dose to Launch "morning dose." A Data- Driven Weekday Morning News Show" (Press release). Tribune Broadcasting. June 15, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  14. ^ Mark K. Miller (June 15, 2017). "Tribune To Launch Syndicated 'Morning Dose'". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  15. ^ Diana Marszalek (June 15, 2017). "Tribune Launching Social-Driven Morning Show in Six Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  16. ^ Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel (June 15, 2017). "Tribune Launches New Social Media Driven Morning Show". TVSpy. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Philpot, Robert (September 6, 2018). "A popular DFW morning anchor changed stations this year. Her new show has been axed". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  18. ^ "What is Eye Opener?". EyeOpenerTV.com. Tribune Media. Archived from the original on 18 July 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2019.